Values and Virtues

Whole School Values, Whole Person Virtues is a philosophical approach to school and personal development.  It is key to a rounded education and to the wellbeing of the school community.

This is an approach for educators and schools wishing to put their values at the heart of what they do.   But it also a recognition that values mean little unless they are supported by the personal, social and intellectual virtues that make it possible to live according to those values.  

Living the values and virtues you profess

There’s no such thing as a “values-free” school: all schools embody values in action.  They express their values every day in their corridors as much as in their classrooms.  Their challenge is to consider whether those values are intended, shared, helpful and consistent – and also continually developing.  Our approach helps schools make their values, especially those expressed as virtues, more consciously selected, more deeply understood, and more willingly practised. 

Education necessitates the personal development of young people

Personal Development sounds like an individualistic concern, but of course it’s a collective enterprise.  Our self-constructs are intimately bound up with our environment and relationships, our language and culture.  Helping pupils to develop as rounded individuals involves the development of whole person virtues – or personal, social and intellectual qualities or strengths. Families and communities have everything to gain when children develop these qualities. But the challenge is complex and ongoing, and careful thought needs to go into the meeting it.

Virtues and values encourage wellbeing

Aristotle put virtues at the heart of ethical behaviour, and argued that they were key to a “flourishing life”.  An individual or community that is skilled at critical thinking, evaluating, reflecting, and acting upon what it finds important is indispensable to schools and society at large.  A considerate and ethical environment is a key ingredient for wellbeing and learning. 

An essential part of school leadership

School policy makers such as Ofsted in the UK and the International Baccalaureate see values and virtues not only as a key part of Personal Development, but also as integral to the quality of education and school leadership as well.  How, for example, could the creation of caring learning environments, preparation for life and work beyond school, school ethos and behaviour, or the school vision ever thrive without serious consideration of the values and virtues that underpin them?  

Training built on expertise and experience

Our training draws on the lifelong expertise and experience in values education and philosophical teaching of Roger Sutcliffe, Will Ord, Sue Webb and Lizzy Lewis.  It is jointly validated by DialogueWorks and Values Based Education. It offers conceptual breadth and depth for clear understanding, practical ideas and tools for teaching, efficient ways of monitoring progress, interactive investigations, resources, and exemplars.